The second quarter of 2020 left shops shut and the consumer with only the essentials. So when the economy was placed before the pandemic, shops have opened up and people want to shop with a vengeance. And the winner in this unique situation? E-commerce. This pandemic has converted a large population of traditional shoppers into e-shopping customers.
According to a optinmonster, The global online shopping market is expected to hit $4 Trillion in 2020.
This is an ideal time for businesses that aren’t selling online, to set up an online store. One of the most popular e-commerce stores is WooCommerce, as statistics show 30% of all e-commerce stores are WooCommerce based. WooCommerce provides an easy transition for your WordPress websites to seamlessly translate into easy to navigate eCommerce stores.
Due to the short attention spans and being spoilt for choices, users continually expect an optimum user experience. WooCommerce stores do provide solutions like real-time inventory, customization, live chat, etc. However if not executed with care, it can make your online store slow to load, costing you potential customers. Less responsive websites are pushed further down the list by Google and other search engines, causing enormous harm to small businesses.
According to a trinity, As per a 2019 study, 37% of visitors are lost if a website takes more than 5 seconds to load. 70% of customers reported that the website loading speed affected their purchasing decision and that the acceptable load time as per consumers was 3 seconds.
So now you know the importance of a fast and responsive e-store. But how do you measure the speed of your existing e-commerce store?
A website speed test is an easy way to check the responsiveness of your WooCommerce store. AddWeb Solutions recommends test tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix, Google Page Speed Insights. Query Monitor is another great tool by WordPress that highlights the redundant functioning aspects of your WooCommerce store.
Related Reading - How to reach more customers with WooCommerce mobile app builder?
Now that you know the speed of your online store needs optimization, here are a few simple ways to achieve it.
Install a caching solution
Caches temporarily store data from a request, to execute subsequent requests quickly. Thus delivering stored webpages, instead of freshly loading them at each request. The catches can be stored on either side, the server-side, or the user side.
However, many caching solutions are problematic, when ill-executed. For example, caching cart pages prevents customers from adding new items to the cart. Caching checkout pages have similar consequences. Thus being vigilant while setting up a caching solution is important.
W3 Total Cache, Breeze WordPress cache, and WP Rocket are a few good caching plugins, to experiment with.
Cleanse your database often
The database stores all your dynamic HTML pages like content pages, product pages, category pages as well as the data of your customer orders and inventory.
If you run a large commerce store, the complexity and the size of your data shall slow down the responsiveness of your website. Regular cleaning of the database will considerably improve the speed of your e-commerce store.
WordPress provides plugins like WP-Optimize, Clean Up Booster, Advanced Database Cleaner, etc. for executing your spring cleaning efficiently.
Convert your WooCommerce store into a mobile app
According to a Think with Google, 51% of online shoppers are more likely to use a brand’s mobile app when browsing or shopping, to access relevant discounts and promotional offers.
Convert your WooCommerce store to app, for maximum optimization. The native mobile apps allow you to offer complex features, without compromising on the loading speed, this is unachievable with most e-commerce website stores.
An easy to use solution would be the AppMaker WooCommerce plugin, it allows you to create beautifully designed iOS and Android apps for your online store.
Optimize your images for web
Images often are the heaviest element on the website. Considering that the images constitute up to 50% of the load time of a website, optimizing these images by resizing and compressing them can decrease the load time for the website drastically.
This does not necessarily need to result in bad quality and blurry images. As we are all aware, visually appealing products and stores sell much more than their counterparts. A good solution would be trying TinyPNG that reduces the size of the images without necessarily affecting the image quality heavily. Plugins such as WP Smush also work well as they automatically optimize the images by resizing them on the website itself.
Choose your theme wisely
WooCommerce provides the user with a bucket full of attractive themes and designs. It is easy for an individual to go overboard and choose a theme that is not ideal for their online store. Many themes inject massive codes to achieve certain layouts and that in turn, increases your e-store’s loading time.
One of the most important things to take care of, while selecting a theme is to check the code’s compatibility with WordPress standards. We recommend choosing a lightweight theme, with a clean code that prioritizes function over aesthetics.
Importance of reliable hosting
Website hosting is one of the most important factors, affecting the overall performance of your WooCommerce store. A reliable backend architecture handles the traffic efficiently, providing relevant data to the users, making reliable hosting a top priority.
Things to consider while choosing a host; Integration of performance-based technology; Provision of SSD, CDN based storage; Offers data centers across the globe. Cloud-based hosting and managed to host for WooCommerce could be optimal choices to consider, based on the needs of your business.
Check on your plugins
WordPress and WooCommerce offer a huge set of plugins, offering beautification and performance efficiency for your e-commerce stores. It is natural to get excited and go overboard with the plugins. A good place to start analyzing your choices of plugins and how well they serve you is by using Query Monitor. Remember, the only plugins with installing are the ones that accelerate speed and performance.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Content Delivery Network is a number of servers located around the globe, to cache your web store pages and display it for users closer to their geographical locations. This drastically reduces the load time of an e-commerce store. Some of the recommended CDNs are Cloudflare, StackPath, KeyCDN.
This list of recommendations might sound excessive and intimidating to a new set of eyes. On the contrary, most of these solutions are cheap, easy to execute, and drastically increase efficiency.